Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compliance

Biological Assessment for Trinity River Hatchery

US Bureau of Reclamation with DJ Warren & Associates
As a component of its Coho Hatchery and Genetic Management Plan, Meridian biologists prepared a Biological Assessment to evaluate the effect of the Trinity River Hatchery's non-ESA listed Chinook Salmon and steelhead programs on Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho Salmon, Southern Resident Killer Whale, Eulachon, and Green Sturgeon. Input for this BA was obtained from NOAA Fisheries, two Tribes, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The effect of hatchery produced coho salmon on natural coho populations was the primary focus of the evaluation.

Statewide Programmatic Biological Assessment

Washington State Conservation Commission
Meridian prepared a programmatic Biological Assessment to evaluate the effects of the Farm Service Agency's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) on listed plant and animal species. The CREP program plants native trees and shrubs to improve riparian condition and enhance wetlands along salmon-bearing streams throughout Washington State. The programmatic BA covers project implementation statewide and allows the program to bypass permitting on a project by project basis. As of 2017, over 1,150 projects were enrolled in the CREP program.

Biological Assessment for the Lewis River Hydroelectric Projects

Meridian biologists analyzed potential effects of continued operation of four major hydropower projects on listed bull trout, Chinook and chum salmon, steelhead, and 14 wildlife and plant species. We produced two BAs for formal Section 7 consultation between FERC and NMFS and USFWS that evaluated effects on ESA listed fish population connectivity; habitat quantity and quality within three reservoirs and downstream river reaches; fish propagation and enhancement measures; river ramping and instream flows; and reintroduction of salmon and steelhead to over 170 miles of habitat. NMFS and USFWS issued Biological Opinions for the continued operation of these four projects.

Biological Assessments for Kootenai River Habitat Restoration Program

Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and BPA
Meridian prepared multiple Biological Assessments to evaluate the effects of aquatic habitat restoration at several sites along a 50-mile reach of the Kootenai River, Idaho, primarily assessing impacts to listed white sturgeon and bull trout and their critical habitat. These efforts met ESA Section 7 requirements and the USFWS approved each of the BAs. Meridian also prepared a programmatic BA covering restoration project implementation from 2013 through 2016. This approach effectively streamlined compliance for the annual instream construction projects. Meridian also prepared ESA documentation for the Tribe's terrestrial habitat/wetland restoration program.

Biological Assessment of the Lyle Falls and Castile Falls Fish Passage Facilities

Bonneville Power Administration, with DJ Warren & Associates
Meridian prepared a Biological Assessment to evaluate the effects of upgrading the existing Lyle Falls and Castile Falls fishways on the Klickitat River to improve fish passage and population monitoring. Meridian evaluated project effects on listed steelhead and bull trout to meet ESA Section 7 consultation requirements. NMFS and USFWS approved the project and construction occurred in 2009.

Barbee Lumber Mill Biological Assessment in Lake Washington

Lloyd and Associates, Inc.
Meridian designed and implemented a detailed, SCUBA-based assessment of existing fish habitat and fish populations within and near a site in Lake Washington that had previously been used as a log transfer facility for the Barbee Lumber Mill. The proposed action involved dredging to remove accumulated bark debris. Meridian biologists conducted and supervised three seasonal SCUBA-based aquatic habitat surveys within the study area, summarized the results of each survey in a series of technical reports, and analyzed the effects of the proposed action (dredging) on aquatic habitat quality and quantity, fish population abundance and diversity, macrophyte density and diversity, and ESA-listed fish species. Meridian photographed underwater aquatic habitat conditions at the survey site, recommended measures to minimize impacts on all candidate, proposed and listed fish species potentially affected by the proposed action, and facilitated negotiations with the state and federal resource agencies. Meridian also prepared two 10-year programmatic Biological Assessments addressing the effects of the ongoing proposed action on ESA-listed Chinook salmon and steelhead as part of a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit application.